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Conference: Reading Promotion and Storytelling for children 2010


The two storytelling evenings during the Conference promise to be exciting and highly entertaining. The organisers are pleased to announce that:

Autralian indigenous storyteller to perform at Unisa

The internationally renowned Australian indigenous storyteller, Francis Firebrace, will perform during the 2nd Unisa Conference on Reading Promotion and Storytelling Festival that will take place from 6-8 October 2010 at the Main Campus of Unisa in Pretoria. Mr Firebrace will be accompanied by accomplished didjeridu player, Nick Burman.

Francis Firebrace, of the Yorta Yorta people, has been yarning (telling stories) "since he can't remember when."  Audiences from all around the world, both young and old alike, have delighted in his dreaming stories in his exciting, entertaining and enlightening performances at schools, functions, festivals and theatres across several continents. 

The dreaming stories he tells, some of which he learnt when he was a drover and a stockman during his younger years in outback New South Wales and Queensland, contain important messages about caring for each other and the earth, and about racism and greed. He aims to bridge the gaps separating people by generating a greater understanding of his cultural heritage and the lessons this contains.

Other storytellers who will perform during the Festival are South Africa’s own Gcina Mhlophe, Denes Asad from Palestine, Babila Mutia of Cameroon and Dieynaba Gueye of Senegal. The Festival will take place during the evenings of 6 and 7 October. See information link below.

The Conference will start with a series of workshops on Wednesday 6 October on topics such as “Telling the Story of Your Name: Teachers as Readers and Writers”, presented by lecturers from the USA, Botswana and Kenya; and workshops on the making of books and telling of stories; unleashing of creative potential; classroom initiatives to install a love for reading and what South African English books can be read with Senior Phase additional language learners.

Papers will be presented by delegates from Belgium; Russia; USA; Kenya; Ghana, etc.

For further background information about the Conference and Festival click here.

For more information contact:
Prof Thomas van der Walt
Tel: 012 4296520 or
Mobile: 0828286305

Denes Asad, Palestinian storyteller and researcher, Haifa has taken part in many storytelling festivals and conferences all over the Mediterranean as well as in several European countries. She will also perform in the Storytelling Festival on the evening of 7 October 2010. Read more ... (PDF)

Gcina Mhlope, South Africa's most well-known storyteller will perform on Wednesday evening, 6 October 2010. Read more (PDF) about her in the abstract.

Gcina Mhlophe has been writing and performing on stage and screen for the past 24 years. She has written many children's books as well as adult audience poetry and short stories and plays. Her writings are published all over the world and translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese. Her work is used extensively in many schools and universities. Gcina produced and performed in the collaboration CD for children with Ladysmith Black Mambazo - released by Music for Little People (USA), 1993. She wrote music for the SABCTV series Gcina & Friends where she performed her own stories for television audiences. In 2000 she released an award-winning storytelling CD “Fudukazi's Magic” for German audiences. Gcina wrote both the story and music for Fudukazi's Magic - produced for video in collaboration with Anant Singh of VideoVision. She wrote both story and music in collaboration with guitarist, Bheki Khoza, for the Animated Tales of the World Series, for Right Angle TV in the UK as well as the SABC. In 2001 her CD and book of Nozincwadi Mother of Books was produced as part of her nationwide reading road show to South African rural schools. Her work has received awards from BBC Africa Service for Radio Drama, The Fringe First Award in the Edinburgh Festival, the Josef Jefferson Award in Chicago, and OBBIE in New York. Gcina Mhlophe has received four Honorary Doctorates from the London Open University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, 1992, University of Pretoria and Fort Hare University in 2008.

In July 2006 Gcina represented South Africa at the Soccer World Cup in Germany, the highlight of her performances being the official revealing of the 2010 World Cup Emblem for South Africa. The performance was broadcasted live around the world to more than a billion viewers! In 2009 Gcina created a new Workshop Theatre production with Greenlandic performers in NUUK, Greenland, to be performed at the Olymic Winter Games in Vancouver in March 2010.

Her NOZINCWADI Mother of Books Literacy Campaign, started in 2001, is still alive and touching thousands of children in hundreds of schools around South Africa. Gcina travels to perform storytelling in mostly rural schools and bringing books to set up school libraries and promote literacy.

Gcina published several books and writing and Storytelling continue to be the main focus of her creative energies. She lives in Durban with her husband and their daughter Nomakhwezi, the morning star.